After a disastrous start Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkaabaaz,a smalltown’s boxer’s love story, perhaps Kashyap’s most a typical film to date, has picked up at the boxoffice.
Trade experts say the film will do “another Newton” at the boxoffice. Just months ago director Amit Masurkar’s film on an electoral crisis in a tribal area featuring Rajkummar Rao had done a similarboxoffice turn-around after Newton was selected as India’s entry to the Oscars.
Mukkaabaaz has not been selected for any soecial honour. Yet movie critics and trade experts say this Rs 3-crore budgeted film will eventually do a businss of at least Rs 20 crores, making it one of the most profitable films in recent times.
The factor common to both Newton and Mukkaabaaz is producerAanand L Rai, a filmmaker with a formidable reputation who seems to have hit the right formula on how to make successes out of small-budgeted out-of-the-box films.
Aanand’s journey as a producer started with Nil Battey Sannatta in 2016,a comely honest and straightforward film on female literacy which hit home. Followed Happy Bhaag Jayegi a romcom on a runaway bride who lands up in Pakistan .
Both surprise successes.In fact Aanand has the rare distinction of cent percent success ratio as a producer.
Question him about it and he modestly shrugs off all credit. “I guess somewhere the filmmaker’s neeyat, his intention is bound to make an impression on the audience. I sincerely believe that if a filmmaker does his job well he will be rewarded with success. As a director when I tried something very different within the commercial framework inTanu Weds Manu and Raanjhana I was warned against taking a risk by signing Madhavan and Dhanush in the lead. Big names in the South, but more important,fabulous actors. To me it didn’t matter which language they worked in. It was their talent not their cultural identity that carried them forward.”
If Aanand’s gambit as a director has worked as a producer he took even bigger risks by agreeing to back projects with new/unsuccessful directors Ashwini Iyer Tiwari(Nil Battey Sannatta), MusassarAziz(Happy Bhaag Jayegi), R Prasanna(Shubh Mangal Savdhaan) , and now Anurag Kashyap (Mukaabaaz) who hasn’t had a boxofficesuccess in years.
“This is a new Anurag Kashyap that audiences see in Mukkaabaaz. I firmly believe in the power of cinema to move audiences. Anuraghas made a moving film. And the actor Vineet Kumar has slogged like a crazy man for his character. Vineet was disheartened when the film opened low. I told him to hang on. I was confident about the film,” says Aanand with the affection of a protective paternal figure.
Aanand currently directs Shah Rukh Khan in Zero.
The director is confident about bringing a new twist to the Superstar’s career. “This will be Shah Rukh Khan that audiences haven’t seen as yet.”